Glasgow (AFP) – Kilmarnock’s Jordan Jones damaged his future club’s Scottish Premiership title ambitions with the decisive strike in a 2-1 win over Rangers, while leaders Celtic thrashed St Mirren 4-0 on Wednesday.
Jones is set to join Steven Gerrard’s Rangers next season after signing a pre-contract earlier this month.
But the Northern Ireland winger showed his loyalties still lie with Kilmarnock for now as he wrecked Jermain Defoe’s Rangers debut at Rugby Park.
Jones repaid Kilmarnock manager’s Steve Clarke’s trust with the goal that sees his side leapfrog Rangers into second place.
It took Defoe just 12 minutes to open his Rangers account after the former England striker’s loan move from Premier League side Bournemouth.
But the 36-year-old did not even have much time to saviour his strike as a Joe Worrall blunder handed Eamonn Brophy the equaliser eight minutes later.
In the 66th minute, Rangers midfielder Steven Davis played a wayward pass to Jones and his Northern Ireland team-mate drove 40 yards upfield before firing a low strike from 25 yards past Allan McGregor.
Having worked so hard to draw level with Celtic before the winter break, Gerrard’s side now drop back to third.
Celtic had no such problems as Oliver Burke scored his first Celtic goals to help the Hoops opened up a one-point gap at the top.
The 21-year-old striker, on loan from West Brom, took 11 minutes of his first league start to head in a Ryan Christie free-kick.
When Scott Sinclair scored Celtic’s second with a penalty soon afterwards the points were all but assured at Parkhead.
Burke grabbed his second 10 minutes into the second half and substitute Timothy Weah, on loan from Paris St Germain, added a late fourth with his first league goal.
Andrew Nelson’s debut goal earned Dundee a 2-1 win at Hearts and ensured his side moved off the bottom of the table.
The 21-year-old, who joined the Dark Blues from Sunderland earlier this month, lashed a low drive beyond goalkeeper Colin Doyle to secure a timely triumph.
St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson returned from injury to strengthen the Perth side’s grip on a top six berth as his goal clinched a 1-0 win over Livingston.
David Turnbull scored the only goal as Motherwell beat Hibernian 1-0 at Fir Park.